The Republic of Upper Volta (French: République de Haute-Volta), now Burkina Faso, was a landlocked West African country established on December 11, 1958, as a self-governing colony within the French Community.[1][2] Before attaining autonomy it had been French Upper Volta and part of the French Union. On August 5, 1960, it attained full independence from France.[3]


Map showing the Volta River in Upper Volta.

Thomas Sankara came to power through a military coup d'état on August 4, 1983.[4] After the coup, he formed the National Council for the Revolution (CNR), with himself as president. Under the direction of Sankara, the country changed its name on August 4, 1984, from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means "Land of Incorruptible People".[5]

The name Upper Volta indicated that the country contains the upper part of the Volta River, the river whose upper part flows into the region. The colors of the national flag corresponded to the names of its three main tributaries — the Black Volta, the White Volta, and the Red Volta.[6]


Upper Volta obtained independence on August 5, 1960. The first president of the country, Maurice Yaméogo, is at the head of the Alliance for Democracy and the Federation / African Democratic Rally . The 1960 Constitution establishes the election by direct universal suffrage of the President and the National Assembly for a term of five years. Shortly after coming to power, Yaméogo banned all political parties other than the Alliance for Democracy.

Thomas Sankara came to power by a coup on August 4, 1983. After coming to power, he formed the National Council of the Revolution (NCRC), and became the president of the twenty-man council. Under his rule, the name of the state was changed on August 4, 1984, from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, meaning "the homeland of upright men."


From 1958 to 1960, the Republic of Upper Volta was headed by a High Commissioner:

From 1971 to 1987, the Republic of Upper Volta was reigned by Prime Minister:



The three colors of the national flag of Upper Volta come from the fact that the Volta has three parts:

National Hymm

In french:

Verse 1:

Fière Volta de mes aieux,

Ton soleil ardent et glorieux

Te revêt d'or et de fierté

Ô Reine drapée de loyauté !


Nous te ferons et plus forte, et plus belle

À ton amour nous resterons fidèles

Et nos cœurs vibrant de fierté

Acclameront ta beauté

Vers l'horizon lève les yeux

Frémis aux accents tumultueux

De tes fiers enfants tous dressés

Promesses d'avenir caressées


Le travail de ton sol brûlant

Sans fin trempera les cœurs ardents,

Et les vertus de tes enfants

Le ceindront d'un diadème triomphant.


Que Dieu te garde en sa bonté,

Que du bonheur de ton sol aimé,

L'Amour des frères soit la clé,

Honneur, Unité et Liberté.

In English:


Proud Volta of my ancestors,

Your ardent and glorious sun

Takes you with gold and pride

O Queen draped with loyalty!


We will make you stronger and more beautiful

To your love we will remain faithful

And our hearts vibrant with pride

Will acclaim your beauty

Towards the horizon look up

Frisks with the tumultuous accents

Of your proud children all trained

Caressed promises of future


The work of your burning ground

Endless will soak the ardent hearts,

And the virtues of your children

The girdle of a triumphant diadem.


May God keep you in his goodness,

May the happiness of your beloved soil,

The love of the brethren be the key,

Honor, Unity and Freedom.

This anthem has been replaced since 1984 by a new anthem, the Ditanyè.

See also


Coordinates: 12°16′N 2°4′W / 12.267°N 2.067°W / 12.267; -2.067